First Lady Michelle Obama visits athletes, says Olympics inspired her family

First Lady Michelle Obama with members of the USA Basketball women's national team.

Just hours before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, Team USA got a very special, all-American visitor: First Lady Michelle Obama.

Obama arrived in London as head of the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. About 60 U.S. athletes were able to meet her personally this morning during her breakfast-time appearance at the University of East London.  

The first lady’s trip to London is part of her ongoing campaign to encourage America’s youth to take part in regular exercise. She told the athletes she is in awe of their abilities and commitment and described the experience of attending her first Olympic Games as “other-worldly.”

“I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is to be leading the delegation ahead of the ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic games,” the first lady told the athletes. “Some of my fondest memories growing up, and even as an adult, involve watching the Olympics on TV.”

 The First Lady told Team USA that she was inspired as a child by the incredible abilities of Olympic athletes, and that she and her brother one day dreamed of achieving something great as well. The first lady also shared a personal story about her father’s MS diagnosis and how the Olympics became an incredibly important time for her family.

“My father wasn’t able to walk without the assistance of crutches,” she said. “He retained his love of sports and the Olympics was a special time for him to watch amazing athletes of all abilities compete on the world stage. These games especially affected our little house on the south side of Chicago.”

She finished her remarks with a bit of advice to athletes: “Try to have fun, try to breath a little bit… but also win. In the end, winning is good.”

The first lady spent 30 minutes mingling with members of Team USA, often hugging them, and posing for photos.   

“It made me feel really proud to be an American. To have her here supporting us means a lot,” said fencer Tim Morehouse, who did acknowledge that it was an early morning for the day of the opening ceremony.

“We’ve got our naps planned,” he added.

“I was just so excited to meet her and be able to take pictures with her, and she actually hugged us,” women’s table tennis player Ariel Hsing, 16, told Metro. “I just thought that was incredible.”

Now, athletes will return their attention to tonight’s long-awaited opening ceremony. An air of anticipation seemed to follow Team USA this morning.   

“I’m marching this time,” Olympic hurdler and gold medalist Angelo Taylor told Metro. This is his third Olympic experience, but tonight will be his first time participating in the opening ceremony.

“I’m excited, I’m looking forward to the show. I’m looking to see what’s different this year,” Taylor said.

1994 Olympic gold medalist and basketball great Grant Hill, who is accompanying the first lady as part of the Presidential Delegation, offered his own words of wisdom to young athletes who may be feeling the pressure as the games begin.

“Relax, have fun. If you’re not prepared by now, you’re not going to be prepared,” Grant said. “So just go out and do what you do best. There’s a reason why you’re here.”

(Photo by Errol Anderson)


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.